Saturday night could prove to be decisive in the — so far — short and explosive career of Ohara Davies (18-1). The Hackney-born super lightweight is travelling to Leicester in an attempt to snatch the WBO intercontinental title away from the unbeaten southpaw Jack ‘El Gato’ Catterall. In a real 50/50 domestic scrap, it’s the perfect platform for Davies to show how he has matured.
This is a huge step up for Davies. The 26-year-old has opted for several lower level fights since a devastating loss to Josh Taylor; a 7th round TKO that bruised the ego of ‘Two Tanks’ after making a name for himself as a brash, opinionated ‘heel’ of the domestic scene in the UK.
After parting ways with Matchroom boxing and his team comprising of Charlie and Tony Sims, Davies has been picked up by MTK Global; the young hopeful looks to have benefitted hugely from this swap in such a short period of time. Social media backlashes to a misinformed tweet he posted regarding the Hillsborough football disaster were misconstrued, landing Davies in hot water within the boxing community previous to his switch to Matthew Macklin’s boxer management company.
In an interview with IFLTV, Davies explained the situation candidly and in detail: with the dust now settling, maybe he will look back at that moment as being the much-needed turning point in his career.
This time feels a lot different in the run-up to such an important fight for Ohara. There’s been no bad-mouthing, no intimidation tactics, no viral clips; Davies is looking to do his talking in the ring come fight night. Speaking to the media, Davies outlined his new approach: “A lot of people seem to think I got here to the big stage because I talk trash. Yes, I know how to draw a crowd and I don’t care about getting booed.
”I’ve been quite controversial in the past and people seem to have forgotten I actually know how to fight. My record is good but everyone’s overlooking my successes since the one loss I took. Hopefully, the knockout of Paul Kamanga put back in everyone’s minds that I’m a boxer, not a talker. I’m a fighter, not a clown.”
This is what we wanted to hear from Davies. In the ring, the former Commonwealth title challenger has admirable attributes. His big right hand is capable of sleeping anyone in the domestic 140-pound division; having only ever gone seven rounds - losing to Josh Taylor - once in his pro career, it’s time we found out whether Davies really possesses ‘Two Tanks’, with Catterall looking to drag his challenger into the later rounds.
’El Gato’ is seasoned at this weight. Now under the tutelage of former European champion Jamie Moore, Catterall is looking to underline his impressive performance against formerly undefeated Tyrone McKenna with a win on Saturday; despite his recent loss, Davies will still be a good scalp on the resume of the 25-year-old.
Davies has been honest in his love/hate relationship with the sport. Often alluding to the dark side of boxing as a young professional climbing through the ranks, it’s pleasing to see Davies given a second chance; he needs to grab Saturday night’s opportunity with both hands in order to re-establish himself as a contender at 140-pounds.
This new-look Davies may create fewer headlines, may sell fewer tickets and may result in him being less known to the casual market, however, in order for his potential to be filled inside the ring it’s time for ‘Two Tanks’ to focus.
I like what I’ve seen from Ohara these past few months. He deserves his second chance in this cutthroat sport. It all starts on Saturday night.